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  • Joe Jackson to Release "The Duke" on June 26

    Thu, 29 Mar 2012 16:38:57

    Joe Jackson to Release "The Duke" on June 26 - It's a trib to Duke Ellington

    Duke Ellington Photos

    • Duke Ellington - NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 04: Duke Ellington's granddaughter, Mercedes Ellington (Above C) and the cast and band of the Tony Award-nominated for Best Musical 'After Midnight' attend the 'Duke Ellington Way' unveiling celebration of 'After Midnight' at Times Square on June 4, 2014 in New York City.
    • Duke Ellington - NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 04: Duke Ellington's granddaughter, Mercedes Ellington (Above C) and the cast and band of the Tony Award-nominated for Best Musical 'After Midnight' attend the 'Duke Ellington Way' unveiling celebration of 'After Midnight' at Times Square on June 4, 2014 in New York City.
    • Duke Ellington - NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 04: Duke Ellington's granddaughter, Mercedes Ellington (C), the cast and band of the Tony Award-nominated for Best Musical 'After Midnight' attend the 'Duke Ellington Way' unveiling celebration of 'After Midnight' at Times Square on June 4, 2014 in New York City.

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    Joe Jackson Videos

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    Singer Joe Jackson will release The Duke, his tribute to Duke Ellington, on June 26 via Razor + Tie.

    "I revere Duke Ellington, but I didn't want this to be a reverent album," Joe Jackson says of The Duke, his new tribute to American jazz giant Ellington.

    True to Jackson's word, The Duke is a decidedly unconventional salute to Ellington, demonstrating the timeless brilliance of his classic compositions while showcasing Jackson's sublime skills as an arranger, instrumentalist and vocal interpreter. Although it's only the second time he's recorded an album not comprised of his own compositions, The Duke is nonetheless a deeply personal project for Jackson, whose longstanding affinity for Ellington's pioneering spirit has served as a key inspiration throughout his own three-decades-plus career.

    The Duke finds the iconoclastic English singer/composer/arranger/keyboardist and five-time Grammy nominee interpreting 15 Ellington classics over the course of ten tracks, interspersing melodic and rhythmic elements of various compositions in a manner that's consistent with Ellington's own freewheeling approach. Rather than emulating the songs' original big-band settings, Jackson filters the material through his own musical imagination while exploring an assortment of unexpected grooves and textures. The resulting album is a seamless fusion of sounds and styles, whose abundant sense of playfulness is consistent with Ellington's boundary-breaking attitude.

    "Ellington didn't consider his own arrangements to be sacred," Jackson notes. "He constantly reworked them, sometimes quite radically. So I think my approach is in the spirit of the man himself."

    Though The Duke is a tribute album, it's also very much a Joe Jackson album, consistent with his long-standing sense of musical adventure. "When I started this", Jackson says, "It felt a little daunting – like, how am I gonna pull this off? But it started to pick up momentum, and took on a life of its own. I got to work with people I never thought I'd be able to get, and they were all extremely enthusiastic and supportive of the project. It all came together in a way that surpassed my expectations. And it's been a hell of a lot of fun."

    Are you going to check out The Duke?

    —Amy Sciarretto
    03.29.12



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